Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Republicans and the Filibuster

The GOP is at it again. For all the talk of the Republicans being the party of morality, they have once again flipped positions where they found it politically convenient.

This morning, United States Senate Republicans voted against cutting off debate on the war measure.

That's right: They voted to filibuster.

Not too long ago though, Senate Republicans Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), and Saxby Chambliss (Georgia - the draft evader who accused the triple amputee of lacking concern for America's security) publicly contemplated filing a lawsuit against the Senate in an attempt to force the Supreme Court to overrule the use of a filibuster to block a president’s judicial nominations.

Back in 2003: The filibuster was an illegal tactic.

Now? Bring it on.

With morality like that, there is no wonder that the Democrats took control in 2006. Leadership means something. It means upholding values. And these two Republicans sure don't have values.

Senator Chambliss will face the voters next year. Hopefully Georgia voters will elect an American with some courage and values then.

Monday, July 16, 2007

White House Continues With Corporal Tillman Cover-Up

"Because it might show we lied to Americans" is not a valid reason to decline a Congressional subpoena. But it appears that the Bush Administration is doing exactly that.

The backgrounds story is now well known. Pat Tillman, a safety for the Arizona Cardinals, gave up his professional football career and enlisted in the United States Army. In doing so, he became a role model for us all. He did what should be done. I want my kids to grow up by his example. When your country needs you, you serve.

Tragically, Corporal Tillman was killed in Afghanistan. It is clear that he was killed by friendly fire when his troops, in the heat of battle, fired on their own.

There is no shame in death by friendly fire. In war, it happens no matter how well troops are trained. Corporal Tillman died an honorable death. He and his troops served their country well.

It appears, however, that the Bush Administration did not share this view of Corporal Tillman's service. Instead, for reasons that appear to be purely political, they covered it up and claimed that the death was due to enemy fire. The reasoning is shameful. The Bush Administration appeared to claim that the death was somehow less honorable, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Rather than admitted its mistake, the Bush Administration is continuing with the shameful cover up. The Washington Post is reporting that White House counsel Fred Fielding has denied the demand for documents, claiming they "implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests."

It is not clear what interests may exist. At this point, we would hope that the actual facts of the incident have been made public. The only thing not made public is why the Bush Administration made the decision to lie about the events to the American people. "Hiding our lies" does not appear to be a legitimate Executive Branch interest.

Finally, it is important to note that the request for documents was not partisan. The request was made jointly by a House Republican and a House Democrat. This is simply a case where the House wants to know about the cover up, and the White House has refused to comply.

Pat Tillman is model for all Americans. Fred Fielding and his clients in the White House are models of a different sort.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Apparently, Dams Are Dangerous


It looks like plaintiffs' attorneys are the only ones not aware of the obvious, i.e. that playing by a dam is a bad idea.

Some plaintiff's personal injury lawyer has actually filed a lawsuit from a drowning at the Kankakee River last summer. The family is suing the City of Wilmington, among others.

A boy apparently fell into the water near the Wilmington dam. Fifteen people jumped in to save the boy. Two men died when the current pulled them under.

Apparently, according to plaintiffs' lawyers, all dams must be made for swimming. If not, somebody must pay.

The Morals of the Right

The story of right wing extremist Louisiana Senator David Vitter story is outside Skeeterville, but is is a perfect example of what is wrong with the conservatives in America.

Vitter likes hookers. We know that because he patronized them. However, he likes to talk about OTHER PEOPLE's morality.

If you want to talk about morality, you need to act morally. Vitter fails that test completely.

The quote of the day comes from Vitter (courtesy

"I think Livingston's stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess."-- Then-Rep. David Vitter (R-LA), quoted by Think Progress, after replacing Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA) who "abruptly resigned after disclosures of numerous affairs" in 1998.

Vitter is right. It is time for Vitter to resign.

Monday, July 9, 2007

They Are Called "Gun NUTS" for a Reason

According to Rich Miller, the Illinois State Rifle Association has sent out an urgent notice to its membership claiming "Governor Blagojevich and State Senator Dan Kotowski are planning to ambush gun owners on July 9th by calling for a special legislative session on so-called 'gun violence.'"

According to the notice, the Special Legislation will be an attempt by Sen. Kotowski that will "result in the banning and forced confiscation of most of your guns." The notice concludes that Sen. Kotowski intends to "humiliate" every single Illinois gun owner and "strip" [fascinating word choice] everyone of their guns.

First, I am not clear on how taking away a person's guns will "humiliate" the person or "strip" them. I have often pondered the notion of how odd it is that gun owners tend to like handling long hard objects that emit blasts from one end. Apparently the ISRA feels the same way about guns.

Second, the urgent notice is interesting in light of the Virginia shooting. There,an insane person was able to obtain guns and go on a shooting spree. The urgent notice by the ISRA is equally insane. Of course the allegation of the notice is not true. The people who sent it out and anybody who believes it should be declared incompetent and their guns SHOULD be taken away. If they believe that sort of stuff, they are clearly incompetent.

Finally, this shows once again that the biggest problem facing Illinois gun owners is their own rifle association. Every time the association speaks, the gun owners lose support.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

When Wal Mart Comes to Town -- It Costs Us All

Wal Mart spends and average of $3,500.00 per employee per year on health benefits.

The average for the retail industry is $4,800.00.

When Wal Mart wants to come to Chicago, remember that the people of Chicago are still going to end up paying for health care for Wal Mart employees.

They keep prices low for Wal Mart shoppers, and taxes high for the rest of us.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Illinois Law on Uninsured Motorists Fails to Solve the Problem

Illinois has a new law aiming to crack down on people who drive without insurance. The new penalty? Suspend the driver's license for three months.

Who in the world thinks that this will prevent people from driving without insurance? The offenders have already made the choice to drive illegally -- to drive without insurance. What causes anyone to think that those same people will not continue to drive illegally (without insurance and without a license).

The solution has to be more drastic. If Illinois is serious about taking bad drivers or uninsured drivers off the road, then Illinois must take the cars off the road. Get caught driving without a license or get caught twice without insurance (twice only to allow for honest mistakes like lapsed policies), and lose the vehicle.

In Illinois, insurance goes with the vehicle. If the vehicle is insured, as a general rule all drivers are insured (unless the policy has a specific exclusion). As such, if that vehicle is not insured, the owner is the one at fault. We need to take that vehicle from the owner.

It is time to get those uninsured vehicles off the street, and it is time for our friends in Springfield to start passing legislation that will make a difference.